Monday, May 11, 2015

Grandpa Bybee's Funeral

Last July we celebrated my Grandpa Bybee's 80th birthday!  He was extremely healthy both physically  and mentally. 
On May 2nd at 11:12pm, my grandpa passed away due to cancer that had spread to his brain.
He died with my grandma at his side in their Salt Lake City condo.  My mom, dad, aunt, and great aunt were also there with him.  They said it was peaceful and painless. 
My sisters drove up to say goodbye to him that night...

This was taken a few days before he died...
We told the boys Sunday after church.  Jackson started crying almost immediately and hugging me so tight.  Josh hung back and kept his emotions to himself.  Tyce hugged me then ran downstairs where Parker found him sobbing under a blanket by himself.  Broke my heart...

Grandpa had been sick since January but took a quick turn for the worst in April.  We were amazed at how quickly our strong, sharp, healthy, active grandpa was suddenly weak and unaware.  It's been heart breaking.  My grandma is heart broken yet so strong, they have been together for over 60 years and she can't imagine her life without him.  She is 80 and extremely healthy so we imagine she will be around for a long time, good for us but maybe sad for her. 

We decided to all fly out for the funeral despite the cost, my grandpa was Parker's only grandpa also for the last 12 years and my boys all really love him. 

The viewing was Thursday night and that was the hardest night for me.  Before I even walked into the mortuary I was in tears, I did not want to face what I knew to be inside that building.  It would make it all real. 
Tyce was SUCH a sensitive angel through all this.  He was so sad, so involved, so in tune with what was going on.  He spent a lot of time at the casket rubbing my grandpa's head and hands.  His nightly prayers consist of mostly praying for Grandpa or Grandma Bybee.  "Bless Grandma will be safe in the condo alone.  Bless Grandpa will survive in heaven without us.  Bless Grandpa to get a brand new healthy body.  Bless us not to be sad.  Bless Grandma and Grandpa to be comforted."  He has been sensitive beyond his years about all this.  Before we went to Utah I explained to the boys about what to expect.  When I explained what the casket was Tyce said, "oh, do they put them in there so the people that pretend fake die don't get dirt in their eyes?"  Hahaha.  To which Jackson said, "Tyce you can't pretend die."  To which Tyce replied by holding his breath for as long as he could. 
The next day was the funeral.  The family prayer and closing the casket was when I felt the most sorrow.  My grandma kissed him, rubbed her lipstick off him (for one last time), then said "I'll join you soon Don!"  It was so hard to think I will not see him again in this life.  Tyce was always right up by the casket, comforting my mom and my grandma...
The boys sure enjoyed time with their cousins!
The funeral service was's the program...
I was asked to speak on behalf of all the grandchildren.  I felt a lot of pressure to do him justice and represent all my cousins.  Here is my talk:
Grandpa Bybee 
I am truly honored and humbled to have been asked by Grandma to speak here today, about my grandpa, on behalf of their 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am Jenn Barraclough, Jana and Brent’s second daughter, and grandma and grandpa’s second grandchild. In preparing my remarks I decided to ask each of the grandchildren to tell me one word that, in their mind, describes grandpa.  To Dana-he was generous.  To Anna-he was forgiving.  To Alex-he was devoted.  To Rachel-he was resilient.  To Joelle-he was tenacious.  To Sam-he was monumental. To Lindsay-he was gentle.  To James-he was sacrificing.  To Rivkah-he had temperance.  In sum, he was loved, even adored, by his grandchildren, a sentiment that was well earned throughout his 34 years as a grandpa.   

We were all fortunate enough to spend much of our childhood in Salem, and our home base throughout moves, divorces, and drama, was always Acorn Lane-Grandma and Grandpa Bybee’s home.  Inside that home were wet kisses (on the lips, always on the lips!) from grandpa and delicious sweets from grandma.  Grandpa was never too busy or tired for his grandchildren, indeed it seemed like his energy and love of life was endless.  As a naïve child I thought he was immortal and would always be there, because in 80 years his aging process had seemed so slow.  His slowly increasing wrinkles and white hair just made him all the more loveable.  However, as we age and our bodies rebel against us, things happen.  And grandpa…well, he shrunk.  He shrunk and he refused to admit it.  Anyone that was now taller than grandpa…had most certainly hit a growth spurt, even if biologically we were long past puberty.  To him, he was 5’10” and always would be (despite the fact that I am 5’7” and looked down at him).  So, I will most certainly try to remember him as my TALL grandpa that looked down at me.  I love his confidence. 
Grandpa had confidence in many things.  He had confidence in his appearance, which becomes immediately evident to anyone who has ever seen his closet.  His suits, boots, jewelry, and cologne rival that of some department stores.  He was fortunate to marry someone who is perfectly content with her 5% of closet space.  He had confidence in his role as a business man.  He was a self-proclaimed risk taker and loved a challenge.  He had confidence in his advice, and was always so proud that I heeded his counsel when he told me to date as many guys as I could before I got married.  Well, I got married at the young age of 19 and dated at least 25 guys before then SO…he was very proud that I listened to him, and ended up picking the perfect man for me.  He had confidence, perhaps false confidence, in his singing ability.  Probably most of us in this room have had the joy of hearing my grandpa belt out the song Happy Birthday, complete with arm and fist pumps while he sings.  One day I remember we were driving in his car and he pulled the car over to sing happy birthday to someone.  I asked him why he couldn’t just do it while driving and he said, “well Jennifer, I can’t sing without my hands!”  Clearly he misunderstood the whole vocal aspect of singing if his focus is on his hands.  However, it is the highlight of your birthday when grandpa calls, and I do not look forward to when my birthday comes around this year and the only people who sing to me will be those who are on key with their arms simply at their sides.  Grandpa had confidence in his role as the patriarch of our entire family.  He took on everything and everyone, everything from Barracloughs, Bybees, Hortons, Kinneys, Hunts, Cananns, Owens, Morrills, Weavers, Ranes, Hawkins, and many many more.  When their first great grandbaby was born grandma and grandpa stated that they would “not be as involved with this generation.”  Well, as we all know, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Grandpa was very involved, caring, and had an intense love for Abbi, Olivia, Mason, Jackson, Josh, Tyce, Remmy, Eleanor, Luke, and Emma.  My son Jackson knows him as the grandpa that always says, “Jackson when you were born I could hold you in the palm of my hand.”  Indeed, when Jackson was born he was a mere 3 lbs and when grandpa came to visit him in the NICU he was pretty small.  However, it seems each year the story is more and more exaggerated as to how small Jackson really was.  At the time of grandpa’s passing, I think Jackson was a mere 3 inches in his mind!  He loves his posterity and takes great pride in all he’s helped to create. 

Grandpa loved family time and loved to laugh, even if he was the source of the joke which he so frequently found himself.  A fond memory my family and I have of Grandpa is how he used to pack for BYU football games.  We were getting ready to head to the stadium and he insisted on showing us all he had in his bag.  He was a modern day Mary Poppins pulling all sorts of things out of this duffle bag.  Poncho, poncho, poncho, battries battries, battries, multiple set of earphones and portable radios, binoculars, binoculars, binoculars, water, snacks, you name it...Grandpa had it in plentiful supply.  He was beyond devastated a few years later when the stadium decided to ban bags from being brought into the stadium!  Playing the game of PIT with grandpa was always entertaining; as he would trade any mixture of commodities despite the numerous times he had been told that they HAVE TO BE THE SAME TO TRADE THEM!  Sometimes, when he got overwhelmed, he would simply not trade with anyone which would result in a very rough game as grandpa held one or two of each commodity that the rest of us were trying to collect to win.  He stated, “well if I can’t win, no one should win!”  Ever the good loser!  Playing Spoons with him was equally entertaining.  He would be SO focused on collecting four matching cards that he would be completely oblivious to the fact that the spoons were all gone, the game was over, and he had…in fact…lost.  Grandpa did not enjoy games per say.  But he played them because we wanted him to.  One of the last things I said to him was, “grandpa as soon as you get better we are going to play some games!”  He rolled his eyes, groaned, and jokingly said “well I don’t think I’ll be getting better anytime soon then Jennifer!”  Unfortunately, those days are gone but the memories live on forever.   
I will be forever grateful that I chose to fly out to Oregon a month ago to spend five days with grandma and grandpa.  I felt he was struggling and wanted to see him before things got worse.  Those days will be treasured in my heart forever.  We were able to talk, hug, and cry together.  When I said goodbye to him he said, “Oh Jennifer why do you have to go so soon?  It’s like you just got here.”  And now that’s what I find myself thinking, why did he have to go so soon?   

 I would feel remiss if I did not mention my grandpa’s love for my grandma.  Anyone who has spent much time with my grandma and grandpa knows that grandpa’s love for grandma radiates.  He is so kind and tender to her.  He is so complimentary of her.  He adores her.  I know he is watching over her and will give her comfort and love through this unbelievably challenging time.   
I would like to close with the lyrics from my favorite hymn that I have been singing to myself all week.  It’s called Be Still My Soul. 

Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side; 

With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain. 

Leave to thy God to order and provide; 

In ev'ry change he faithful will remain. 

Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend 

Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end. 

Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on 

When we shall be forever with the Lord, 

When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, 

Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored. 
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past, 
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last. 
 I look forward to the day where change and tears are past, where we are together forever as a family, reunited with my dearest grandpa.  I love you grandpa.   
When we were walking into the chapel from the family prayer Tyce said he wanted to sit by Grandma Bybee because she was sad.  I told him Grandma was going to sit with her kids and he could sit back with us.  Well, he wiggled his way to the front of the line, hugged Grandma Bybee, and ended up sitting by her and my mom the entire time...
After the funeral, while we waited for the funeral procession to get organized, the boys took a turn in the limo.  They thought they were SO cool in there!
Unfortunately it was rainy at the graveside service so we had to get through it pretty quickly.  He is buried in Sunset Garden Cemetery in Sandy, UT and it is a beautiful cemetery!  My grandparents had picked out the plots last year and I remember my grandpa telling me all about it.  "Jennifer, I'll have a view of the mountains and I won't be too close to the road so I won't hear traffic.  I'm getting an extra seal on my casket so I will NOT get wet or cold!"  At the time it sounded hysterical because...HE'D BE DEAD!  But now, I am so glad he can rest comfortably, dry, warm, with a good view, and no traffic noise. :) 

Parker was a pall bearer...


Parker's mom was SO sweet to drive out from Neola to be there for us for both the viewing and the funeral.  Her support meant so much to me and my family.  Unfortunately her eyes are closed but I still had to post it! 

After the graveside we headed back to the church for a luncheon provided by the Relief Society...

Barraclough five plus Grandma...
And just the Barracloughs...
All ten cousins together!  Something that rarely happens!  I really enjoyed spending time with my awesome cousins, we had so much fun reminiscing about our childhood.  Many tears were shed also though, many many tears...
It was an emotionally exhausting five days but I am so glad I was able to go and be with family.  The first time I walked into the condo and saw that my grandpa was not there was really hard.  My dad came in and talked to me and mentioned that comforting those that are also grieving will help me deal with my grief.  Since I had been on my own in Virginia when he died I was unable to do that, but being around family once I got to Utah really helped.  I tried to focus less on the loss and more on the love.  In my mom's fabulous talk at the funeral she said, to take the sorrow out of death you have to take the love out of life.  My heart aches because I loved my grandpa so much, and I would never wish that away or even lessened.  I am so grateful for the relationship I had with my grandpa, we were very close.  I am grateful for how much he loved and cared for Parker.  One of the last full sentences he said was about Parker.  I am grateful that my boys will always remember him.  Tyce may be only 5 but he fully understood what was going on and grieved in a very mature way.  Lastly, I am grateful for my knowledge of eternal families.  I will see him again, we will live again together forever. 

Here is his obituary:

Don Ray Bybee , beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away May 2, 2015 in Salt Lake City, from cancer .   He was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho on July 4, 1934 to Dale Weston Bybee and Gazette (Midge) Bybee.   He received all of his primary schooling in Idaho Falls and lettered while on the boxing team during his high school years.  Upon graduation from high school, he attended Brigham Young University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Retailing.   On July 21, 1954 he married Roxie Lake, his high school sweetheart.  After graduating from BYU, Don and Roxie moved to New York City where he earned his master’s degree in Retailing.   Don wanted to live in the west and so he accepted a job offer with U. S. Steel in San Francisco.   He then moved to Salt Lake City and joined Snarr Outdoor Advertising, working in the company that Douglas T. Snarr and Don started just out of high school.  After 2 years he moved to Boise, Idaho and was employed as Chief of Health Education in the Idaho Department of Health and worked in this capacity for several years.  During this time in Boise he built a gumball vending machine business on the side which covered several cities in Southern Idaho.  In 1976 they moved to Salem, Oregon where Don and a partner built a Long Term Health Care company.   He later branched out on his own and continued in this business for 33 years until he retired.  He had many interests that he and his wife shared together.   He loved the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and was a frequent guest on Sunday mornings.  He enjoyed attending BYU football games and had season tickets for many years.  He and Roxie also enjoyed symphonies, operas, stage plays, university lectures and symposiums.  He liked working with wood and was an excellent furniture refinisher.  He enjoyed collecting things such as clocks and cowboy boots.  He spent some years in England in his home – the Bedford House – and learned to appreciate the beauties of England.  He was a hard worker all of his life and enjoyed working.  Don and Dale Tingey created the Lehi Foundation in 1977, later known as American Indian Services, which provides a continual source of educational matching scholarship funds for Native Americans, assisting them to better their life and the lives of their future generations by helping them afford a higher education.   He has been an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all of his life.  He is loved dearly by his family because of his great kindness, nurturing, unselfishness, gentleness and strength, and wise counsel.   He is survived by his wife, Roxie, his children, Jana Lynn Barraclough (Brent Barraclough), Mark Bybee (Tracy Bybee), Denae Bybee and Darin Bybee, and his brother, Brent Bybee.  He was blessed with ten grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.   He was preceded in death by an infant granddaughter, Janey Bybee.

Services will be held Friday, May 8, 2015 at 11:00 AM at the Capitol Hill First Ward, 413 West Capitol Street.  A viewing will be held from 9:30 to 10:30 AM prior to the service.
Interment will be at Larkin Sunset Gardens – 10600 South Sandy, Utah

In lieu of flowers the family has requested donations to either American Indian Services (1902 North Canyon Road Suite 100, Provo, UT 84604) or the LDS Church General Missionary Fund (Corporation of the President, 50 E. North Temple Room 1521, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.)

Here is his eulogy, delivered by my dad who did a fabulous job!



Don was born and raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho – he was a boxer in high school – Married his high school sweetheart, Roxie Mae Lake, on July 21, 1954, while attending BYU -  Bachelor’s degree from BYU – Master’s Degree from NYU.

 After graduating from NYU – moved to San Francisco, where first daughter (Jana) was born – they made numerous life-long friends that became known as “the San Francisco group” - brief career with US Steel – moved to SLC and worked at Snarr Outdoor Advertising, a company that Don and his good friend Douglas T. Snarr had started just out of high School. 

 After 2 years in SLC - moved to Boise, Idaho where 3 more children (Mark, Denae and Darin) eventually joined the family.  Worked for the State of Idaho, in the Department of Health, as Chief of Health Education for many years.  Helped support his family by becoming a gumball vending machine entrepreneur -Those who know Don remember that he had high standards for this side business - his machines were always the cleanest and best maintained. 

 After his employment with the State of Idaho ended he became involved in the nursing home business, sold his gumball enterprise, and moved to Salem, Oregon.  Became extremely successful, first with Truscan Corporation, then Chartham Management, and finally Dover Management, companies many of us recall with a variety of memories. 

 Don displayed his negotiating skills through numerous acquisitions, many involving multi-million dollar transactions.  He loved the game of business…..finding the right deal, the right price, the right partners, the right funding, and putting it all together.  He trusted people in business, sometimes to his own detriment.  As a result, he had to start over in business at an age when most men were playing golf, avoiding their wives and growing old.  But he was motivated.  Motivated to take care of his wife and his children, driven by love and concern.  And he loved the game of business.  And he succeeded again. 

 His success over the years allowed Don to contribute to a cause very close to his heart.  He always had a tenderness for children, he rooted for the underdog and he felt deeply for those whom life had mistreated.  He became an ardent supporter of Dale Tingey and the Lehi Foundation, later known as American Indian Services.  Don recognized in the Native American people a deep sense of pride, of strength, of humility.  But they lacked opportunity and education.  He quietly became a significant donor to this program to help provide the opportunity and education these people so badly needed.  His efforts changed the lives of innumerable individuals.       

Don had relatively few interests when compared to most men.  He didn’t hunt or fish or golf.  He rarely went to movies or shows.  He watched the Portland Trailblazers and BYU football, but not fanatically.  He enjoyed reading a variety of books and magazines, for entertainment and relaxation.  But what he mostly liked to do was help others.  He was always willing to visit the members of his ward who had special needs, who were the marginal members of society.  He quietly paid to support many young missionaries.  He spent untold hours and unknown money helping those who were struggling to get by.  His goal was always to lift these special people up so they could feel good about themselves, and, ultimately, to provide for themselves.  He did this with great sensitivity, love and compassion.  And he did it quietly, avoiding recognition for himself.

 Don was not without his oddities, quirks and warts, like all of us.  He was not perfect.  But he was a man of determination in his work, a man of compassion for others, and a man of love for his family, especially his wife and companion and best friend, Roxie. 

 I’ve been asked to share an email that Don wrote to Jenni Kerper just about a year ago.  Jenni handled most of Don’s personal finances for many years, a monumental task to say the least.    Don & Roxie decided last year to purchase some prepaid burial plans and select their burial plots.  This email was telling Jenni about the required payments.    

 "I just bought my last piece of real estate!  No more nursing homes, health care properties.  I am done...This is a beautiful piece of real estate facing the Wasatch Mountains in Salt Lake City.  A little tight but it works fine for two people close together...
When this investment is used I can rest in peace!  No more people calling for payment.  No more unsolicited phone calls for donations!  No more IRS problems...At least peace and quiet..."

It is my hope and prayer that Don is enjoying that peace and quiet.  We will miss him.



Kris Westover said...

This is beautiful Jennifer. I'm sorry you lost your grandfather. Your talk is wonderful, and I feel that I know him better for having read it.

Daisha said...

Jenn, What a great talk you gave! Loved see the pictures of your family together! Love you!